tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC December 18, 2019 3:30pm-4:01pm PST
tonight, a landmark moment in american history. the final arguments before the historic vote tonight whether to impeach president trump. a fiercely divided congress, a divided country. the house voting on articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of congress. speaker nancy pelosi saying the president, quote, gave us no choice. republicans defending the president today, saying there's no evidence of a crime. and accusing the democrats of wanting to do this since the day he was elected. will he be only the third president to be impeached? mary bruce live on the hill tonight. meantime, president trump furious, leaving for a campaign rally in michigan tonight in battle mode. his tweetstorm, calling impeachment an assault on america. jon karl live at the white house, the president's playbook
for a senate trial and for his campaign for re-election. and terry moran tonight with the bottom line. in a polarized country, what happens next in a senate trial? and where are american voters tonight? the other major news this wednesday night, the deadly attack on a shopping center. several injured. the suspect escaping. the hunt that followed. a dangerous night in the northeast for millions of commuters. vehicles piling up on the highway. and bracing for wind chills below zero. the alarming warning tonight after a woman is killed in new york's times square from falling debris from a 17-story building. tonight, there is word 1,300 other buildings are at risk. the security breach, a plane stolen. the crash and the arrest. and the u.s. coast guard tonight, the major discovery surrounding this boat and the bust. good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a wednesday night. a deeply divided moment playing out in american history tonight.
the full house set to vote on whether to impeach president trump. he would be only the third president to be impeached. all day long, short bursts of anger, closing arguments from both sides. democrats arguing the evidence is clear. arguing the president used the power of his office for personal and political gain in the coming election. republicans asking, where is the evidence of a crime and that democrats have wanted this since day one. and house speaker nancy pelosi, who repeatedly resisted impeachment during the mueller investigation, when pushed by some members of her own party, changing her mind after that call with the president of ukraine. today, standing by the congress, saying the president gave us no choice. saying, we are here to defend democracy. president trump furious, and he's about to take the stage tonight. we have it all covered, beginning with mary bruce on the hill tonight. >> reporter: tonight, on the house floor, republicans and democrats making their last stand. the final debate before the vote to impeach an american president for just the third time in history.
>> speaker, how do you feel this morning? >> sad. >> reporter: speaker nancy pelosi, dressed all in black, setting the tone. >> it is tragic that the president's reckless actions make impeachment necessary. he gave us no choice. >> reporter: casting impeachment as a patriotic imperative, pelosi called the day a national civics lesson. >> today, we are here to defend democracy for the people. >> reporter: democrats charge the president abused his power to manipulate the 2020 election, withholding nearly $400 million in military aid and the promise of a white house visit to pressure ukraine to investigate one of his chief political rivals, former vice president joe biden. >> i ask my colleagues, who sent his personal lawyer to ukraine to investigate his political rival? who fired an ambassador who stood in his way? who conditioned a white house meeting on investigations that only personally benefited him and not the national interest? who cut off military aid to an
ally that desperately needed it? the answer to all of these questions is president donald trump. >> he didn't even need the investigation to be undertaken. just simply announced to the public. the smear of his opponent -- the smear of his opponent would be enough. >> reporter: democrats argue trump is a clear and present danger to the next election. >> he solicited foreign interference before. he is doing it now and he will do it again. the president is the smoking gun. >> reporter: but republicans say democrats are on a partisan crusade, eager to oust the president. >> why do we keep calling this a solemn occasion when you've been wanting to do this ever since the gentleman was elected? >> reporter: presenting a united front, one after another, they insisted democrats are motivated by hatred for the president and his supporters. >> they call us deplorables. they fear our faith. they fear our strength. they fear our unity.
they fear our vote and they fear our president. >> reporter: the president's defenders using trump's own words. >> it's a sham, a witch hunt, and it's tantamount to a coup against the duly elected president of the united states. >> reporter: they insist the president has not committed an impeachable offense. >> unlike the nixon and clinton cases, there are no allegations that the president has committed a crime. >> i'm hearing a lot from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle except a defense of president trump's conduct, which is indefensible. >> reporter: and this evening, in a passionate speech, congressman john lewis bringing the weight of history to bear. >> we didn't ask for this. this is a sad day. it is not a day of joy. when you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something. we have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history. >> passion on both sides tonight.
let's get right to mary bruce, live up on the hill. and mary, as i said at the top of the broadcast, a divided congress, a divided country and not a single republican is expected to vote to impeach president trump tonight, showing just how partisan this vote is expected to be. >> reporter: david, republicans here on the hill are in lock-step with the president and democrats are largely united, as well. though we do expect at least two democrats to defect and oppose impeachment, which republicans here are likely to seize upon. david? >> all right, mary bruce, we'll come back to you tonight. thank you. and president trump tonight, meanwhile, leaving the white house late today. he walked past the cameras with no comment, but his tweets revealed his fury today. the white house had said the president would be working all day, that he would be briefed by staff, but there was a tweetstorm not long after speaker pelosi took the floor, in fact, one tweet calling the proceedings, quote, an assault on america. abc's chief white house correspondent jonathan karl on the president's reaction tonight. >> reporter: the president ignored questions as he left the white house tonight. >> mr. president, any thought on
the impeachment vote? >> will you watch the vote, mr. president? >> reporter: no comments on the impending impeachment vote before heading to his campaign rally in battle creek, michigan. the day started with the white house press secretary stephanie grisham saying, quote, the president will be working all day. he will be briefed by staff throughout that day, and could catch some of the proceedings between meetings." but he seemed to take in a lot of the debate -- tweeting and retweeting some 45 times before noon -- almost all about the impeachment debate. the tweets started a dawn. "can you believe that i will be impeached today," the president tweeted at 7:30 in the morning. "i did nothing wrong!" five hours later, just after speaker of the house nancy pelosi spoke on the house floor, the president vented in all caps -- "such atrocious lies by the radical left, do nothing democrats. this is an assault on america and an assault on the republican party!" >> so, let's get right to jon
karl. and jon, the president has repeatedly called impeachment an ugly word, a disgusting word. he did not want this to happen, but it would appear, jon, that he is also ready for battle. >> reporter: impeachment clearly bothers him, david. but he is in battle mode. he'll be out, of course, at his campaign rally in michigan tonight. looking forward to that battle in the senate, the senate trial, confident he will win and when and if he does, david, certain to claim complete and total exoneration and vindication. >> all right, jon karl with us live tonight, as well. jon, thank you. and as you heard jon report there, the president headed to michigan for a rally tonight. clearly pivoting already. so, let's get right to martha raddatz, live at the rally. and martha, impeachment has already become part of the president's campaign message. >> reporter: earn sily has, david. that's what you'll hear the president talking about here tonight, venting about those tweets, i think you'll hear him vocalizing those tweets to this
crowd. he'll also want to stress the economy and how strong is economy is and all of the supporters i've talked to here tonight are echoing the president's message already, echoing those tweets, saying this is a scam, saying this is a witch hunt and all they care about, they say, is the economy, they say they haven't even watched these impeachment proceedings. david? >> martha raddatz live in michigan tonight. martha, thank you. and one more note, as all this playing out tonight. the scope of this, and what to expect next. president trump is only the fourth american president to face impeachment. the first, andrew johnson in 1868. he was impeached then acquitted in the senate. in 1974, richard nixon faced a long inquiry, but resigned before the vote. and bill clinton, 21 years ago tomorrow, in fact, he was impeached. he was acquitted in the senate. and tonight, the vote at any time on whether to impeach president trump. so, let's bring in terry por ran, live at the capitol tonight. and terry, you covered the clinton impeachment in '98. senators were in agreement about
what the trial would look like. but tonight, you have the democratic leader chuck schumer calling for witnesses like john bolton, acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney. then you have mitch mcconnell saying no witnesses and already saying he won't be an impartial juror, but this is what he said today. listen to this. >> i've hoped and still hope that the democratic leader and i can sit down and reproduce that unanimous bipartisan agreement this time. >> so, terry, how likely is this, some bipartisan agreement for the senate trial? >> reporter: you know, david, they'll probably work something out, but there's a big difference between that unanimous agreement between the clinton impeachment and today. the senate, their leaders in the clinton impeachment, they kept the clinton white house at arm's length. they consulted with them, but this was really a deal worked out by the independent senate. mitch mcconnell's already said he is operating in total coordination with the white house. he has said he wants a short trial, chuck schumer, as you
say, wants witnesses. the president keeping his options open. >> you witnessed this before, terry. in a senate trial, it's all about the math. two-thirds, 67 of them, are needed to convict. and terry, that's extremely unlikely here. >> reporter: my goodness, that is a super majority, and barring bombshell news evidence that is not on the horizon at all, president trump will be aquilted. the founders put that super majority in the constitution because they wanted the public to do this, through their representatives. and right now, the public is locked in, divided, without really moving an inch during the course of these hearings and this debate today. david? >> terry moran, thank you. and to martha, jon, mary, as well. we'll come back to the impeachment just as soon as we have news on it tonight. in the meantime, we move onto the other news this wednesday evening. the deadly attack outside portland, oregon. the attacker with a knife, killing one person, wounding several others. here's abc's chief justice
correspondent pierre thomas tonight. >> reporter: police in beaverton, oregon, today racing to respond to reports of a robbery in progress. >> armed robbery incident. >> there is possibly hostages. >> reporter: officers swarming a wells fargo bank and a planet fitness gym at this shopping center. and then disturbing word of an attack involving a large knife. >> updated information on the robbery, it looks like a machete was used. >> reporter: authorities say three people were stabbed. one victim later dying from the injuries. >> i walked outside, saw all the police activity and all of a sudden, i see a gurney with a lady on it. >> she had so much bandaging on and it was bloody, so, we're assuming neck -- stabbed in the neck. >> reporter: police locking in on the suspect's location after he tries to flee the scene, allegedly stealing car. >> he's on foot right now behind the chevron. >> reporter: the suspect later apprehended. they're still talking to witnesses, trying to determine whether this was a robbery or something different altogether, david. >> pierre thomas with us live tonight, as well. pierre, thank you.
and next tonight, the dangerous and blinding snow squalls moving across the northeast and the bitter arctic blast on the way right behind this. that sudden and fast-moving snowstorm moving in over manhattan late this afternoon. you can see it there. heavy snow coming down outside rochester, new york, and a squall causing a multivehicle accident on i-80, this is central pennsylvania. so, let's get right to senior meteorologist rob marciano, tracking it all for us tonight. hey, rob. >> reporter: hi, david. the air so cold behind this front, it's popping off the intense snow squalls. we're getting one right now. a smattering of white on the radar. from west virginia up through new england. still some warnings up, around the lakes, that's where it's going to be the most intense. the bottom is dropping out with these temperatures. the coldest air of the season. will feel like minus 12 in burlington, 0 here in new york and it's going to hard freeze, so, it will be a slick commute in the morning. meanwhile, long duration atmospheric river event setting up for the west, heavy rain and mountain snow, but i'm concerned for river flooding for western
oregon and washington through the weekend. david? >> rob, thank you. and next this evening, the danger from above, after a prominent architect, a mother, was killed here in new york city near times square by falling debris from a 17-story building. tonight, did the building owner ignore warnings? and now, the new concern about hundreds of other buildings right here in new york. here's abc's eva pilgrim. >> reporter: tonight, new questions of safety after debris fell from this new york city building, killing a prominent architect and mother. >> i am without words. i really don't know how something like that could happen. >> reporter: the city identifying more than 1,300 buildings that need immediate repairs after 60-year-old erica tishman was killed on tuesday. the building at 49th and seventh was cited in april for failure to maintain building walls and several locations pose a falling haza hazard. >> sometimes you look up and you wonder how safe these buildings are. well, it turns out, in some instances, not very. >> reporter: the building owners paid a $1,200 fine but didn't
make the repairs. in july, they applied for permits, but it wasn't until after tishman was killed that crews installed protective scaffolding around the building. tonight, new concerns for pedestrians in manhattan. the nypd tweeting, "we are responding to 911 calls for falling ice from various buildings in midtown." the building owners released a statement, saying their hearts go out to this family, adding that the company plans to fully cooperate with the city. david? >> eva pilgrim with us tonight. thank you, eva. and to remarkable images this evening. the u.s. coast guard and the high seas takedown. newly released video showing the coast guard moving in on a suspected narco boat in the eastern pacific. and inside, more than 3,000 pounds of suspected cocaine. and this boat, just one of seven intercepted in this operation. here's abc's chief national correspondent matt gutman with the images tonight. >> reporter: the dramatic arrests on the high seas.
these u.s. coast guard drcrews, guns drawn, seizing a small drug smuggling vessel. these are some of the seven raids announced today, seizing more than 18,000 pounds of cocaine. $312 million of drug money that would have funded violent crime, terrorism, human trafficking and arms trafficking. >> yeah, this place is loaded. >> reporter: officials say more than 3,100 pounds of the drug were onboard. the series of raids carried out over the past few months in the pacific even catching semisubmersibles. >> this is hard, dangerous work for these crews to actually gain access and control of those vessels. >> reporter: and david, it's ships like these that seize more than 90% of the total cocaine captured by u.s. authorities. still, we are told, this is just a fraction of the amount of drugs smuggled into the country. david? >> all right, some remarkable pictures. matt, thank you. there is still much more
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we have been reporting here on this historic night unfolding in washington, a divided congress reflecting a divided country. their final arguments tonight and the impeachment vote. so, let's get right to mary bruce with the latest for us. >> reporter: david, the debate is wrapping up here and moments from now, house speaker nancy pelosi will preside over two votes on the articles of impeachment. abuse of power and obstruction. donald trump now on the cusp of becoming just the third u.s. president in history to be impeached. david? >> and mary, this is expected to be a very partisan vote? >> reporter: david, democrats are largely united. republicans here on the hill are in lock-step behind the president. you are about to see a near party line vote on impeachment. >> mary bruce and our team in washington tonight. thank you. and we will be back on the air with our live impeachment coverage right here on abc in just a moment. we'll see you then. good night.
oh, it is a foggy, rainy, windy, miserable day. our wet weather causing problems on the roads, in the air. in short, it's a great day to be inside. good afternoon and thanks for joining us. i'm larry beil. >> and i'm ama daetz. we have live team coverage on storm watch. spencer will let us know what the rest of the evening looks like. but right now we're going to abc news for a special report on the impeachment proceedings. stephanopoulos. >> good evening. we're back now with our special coverage of the impeachment of president trump. six hours of debate have been winding down here on capitol hill. you see liz cheney, a remember of the republican leadership, one of the final speakers for the republicans, weighing in on impeachment. let's listen in. >> more powerful than the force of freedom. it is our miraculous constitutional system, madam speaker, defended by our men and women in uniform, that have safeguarded that freedom for 230